<body> Public Ad Campaign: Station Domination and the Assualt on Your Senses
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Station Domination and the Assualt on Your Senses

When an outdoor advertising company like CBS uses the term "station domination" to refer to one of their advertising packages, you can be sure they mean to capture your attention. The experience is meant to "surround the consumer with multiple messages throughout their commute.", and ultimately reach a point of saturation that is unavoidable to the sighted. That being said, "station domination" is often no more than a handful of large vinyl stickers with the same or similar messages from a single company haphazardly strewn about a major NYC station. Recent incarnations of this have been the Converse One Star campaign and the Apple Chromatic campaign.

let it be known that the days of these relatively benign attempts to harness your commute are over. They may not have a name for it yet, but the History Channel is embarking on "transit system domination", with an abundance of above ground and underground locations being used by the company.

Underground, the normal platform advertising locations are being used in conjunction with the above ground Urban Panels, as well as the exteriors of MTA buses, which we are all familiar with. Alongside this, the first (S) shuttle line full subway car wraps were debuted with History Channel ads.

Another new form of transit advertising the History Channel has been using is adhered to the exteriors of the 1, 2, and 3 trains similarly to the exteriors of MTA buses. By not only using every transit advertising opportunity available, but being the first to dominate both an entire train and an entire line, the campaign has gained unprecedented placement in a commuter's daily routine.

And yet what prompted me to write this post was what I found when exiting the station. Both AM NY and Metro NY, free newspapers with mostly bogus news and Hollywood coverage, had full page advertisements wrapping their entire paper on the morning of Friday, October 24th.

Instead of reiterating the devastating effects of advertising on the unprotected psyche, especially at such a vulnerable time as during the morning commute, I want to visualize where this process is going. With the proper coordination of outdoor advertising firms, which is apparently happening before our eyes, and at a very fast pace, it should be feasible to create a "citywide domination" campaign which would take advantage of all the forms of outdoor advertising this city has to offer. These might include billboards at the major automobile entrances and exits to our city, like bridges and tunnels. It would obviously include large purchases of telephone kiosks, bus shelters, and NPA wildposting sites to cover the city streets. One can only begin to imagine the depth to which this could be taken when one begins to think about the incredible number of outdoor advertising operations the city is now home to.

Maybe this would only be feasible for a day, but the affect would be overwhelming. If you can imagine every outdoor advertisement you see in a day all with a similar message, you are beginning to get the idea. The scale which we are talking about here is obviously outside of our normal comprehension, but can be glimpsed in the History Channel's recent attempt to consume the NYC subway system under one message, and that is to watch Cities of the Underground on Sundays at 9pm.

And what would a city feel like with one ubiquitous advertisement, covering all the myriad outdoor advertising locations, floating across our periphery?

Note: This should not be taken lightly. With the advent of digital billboards, digital phone kiosks, digital taxi toppers, digital urban panels, and digital bus exteriors, we gain the ability to tune all of these disparate outdoor advertisements to the same advertisement all at once. Recent inventions used by Titan Outdoor already allow them to change exterior bus ads as they roam around from one different neighborhood to another. It's not hard to imagine entire areas being dominated by certain specific advertisements at different times of day according to the usage. Or maybe ads on bus shelters, taxi toppers, and bus exteriors all changing to the same ad as they come in proximity to each other, thus creating nests of advertising where one would be hard pressed to escape the message...Cities of the Underground, Sundays at 9pm...

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